How to Play Triplets on the Drums

Learn how to play triplets from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


What I'm gonna cover now is a series of notes called triplets. It's a subdivision that's a little bit different than the normal rhythm scale. Now if you think about a rhythm scale in a bar of four of four, or four counts, you're talking about whole notes, to half notes, to quarter notes, to eighth notes, and finally sixteenth notes. Triplets are when you take one portion of the measure, or a beat of the measure, and you separate it into three beat. Or you subdivide it into three counts, or three beats.

Now, there are things like eighth note triplets, and half note triplets, and whole note triplets. And that gets a little bit more advanced, and takes place over a longer period of time. The best place to start with triplets, and at least the counting of triplets and recognizing them, is with eighth note triplets. And the eighth note triplets fall between a quarter note, and the eighth note. And if you take each quarter note, which falls on the number of the beat, one, two, three, four. And you separate each one of those into three counts. What it would sound like is something like, one triplet, two triplet, three triplet, four triplet.

Again, it's subdividing into three spaces of time in between each quarter note. And there are a few different ways you could count it. You could count it the way I just counted it, which was one triplet, and then you would change the number to two triplet. Or you could even just say, trip-pl-let. And what that would sound like would be trip-pl-let, trip-pl-let, trip-pl-let, trip-pl-let. And the problem with that one is you really don't know which count you're on. And that's why we suggest always starting the triplet number with a number of the beat of the measure. One triplet, two triplet, three triplet, four triplet.

Again, there are different varieties of triplets, and how they subdivide into a measure. But that's the best place you should start with triplets.

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